School of Public Policy alumna, Neela Ram, was part of the team that has won the 2012 American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Student Project Award for Contribution of Planning to Contemporary Issues.
Ram, who earned master's in both Public Policy (2010) and the College of Architecture's School of City and Regional Planning, is currently senior environmental planner at the Atlanta Regional Commission. The project, Action Plan for the Fort McPherson Community, was prepared under the direction of CoA Professor Michael Dobbins and students in his studio in the School of City and Regional Planning. Fort McPherson is a 488-acre army base in the City of Atlanta designated for closure under the BRAC process. Leaders from mostly minority and low-wealth communities surrounding Fort McPherson asked Georgia Stand-UP, a "think- and act- tank for working families," to assist them in engaging the BRAC process. Georgia Tech's planning program provided technical assistance. The plan stressed job creation, a clear interim planning and operational strategy, and active reintegration of the base with the community, in part through engaging existing rail transit stations as Transit Oriented Developments. The winning project was completed in 2010 with support from the Ford Foundation and will be presented during the 2012 American Planning Association (APA) National Planning Conference in Los Angeles in April.